NFL COVID Rules and Protocols for Vaccinated and Unvaccinated Players Explained

Jason Schandl
NFL COVID rules and protocols for the 2021 season.
NFL COVID rules and protocols for the 2021 season. / Elsa/Getty Images
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The 2020-21 NFL season was played to completion despite the COVID-19 pandemic, but it wasn't without its hiccups. Some players opted out, others missed time due to the illness, and postponed and rescheduled games were a looming issue. The league wants to minimize the impacts this season, and they have agreed with the NFL Players' Association on a new set of COVID protocols

NFL COVID Rules and Protocols

Fully vaccinated players will have very few restrictions, while players who aren't fully vaccinated will have restrictions that include daily COVID testing, the requirement for masks and social distancing at team events, mandatory quarantine after high-risk exposure, and no interacting with anyone outside the organization during team travel.

One of the most infamous impacts on the previous NFL season was when the entire Denver Broncos' QB room was forced to quarantine as high-risk contacts, leaving wide receiver Kendall Hinton starting at QB.

Under these rules, fully vaccinated players would not face the same restrictions, while players who aren't would still face the same fate as they did last year.

Coaches who aren't fully vaccinated without medical or religious exemption will also not be allowed to work in-person with players.

With such harsh restrictions and with NFL teams so keen on doing everything they can for a competitive advantage, it's hard to imagine players and coaches don't start vaccinating at a higher rate at this point.


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Jason Schandl is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Jason Schandl also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username Jaymun. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.

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